INTRODUCTION : The University of Pretoria Oral Health Centre (UPOHC) is inundated by patients presenting with toothache, many requiring emergency pulpectomies (EPs). To date, the outcome of these procedures performed at this academic/public health facility, remains unknown..
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES : To determine the completion rate of treatment of teeth that had received EPs at the UPOHC.
STUDY DESIGN : A retrospective survey of data obtained from electronic and paper records of 498 randomly selected teeth from the 1050 that had undergone EPs between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013 at the UPOHC, followed to 30 June 2014.
METHODS : The outcome of treatment was recorded as “no treatment after initial pulpectomy”, “pulpectomy repeated”, “tooth was removed” or “root canal treatment (RCT) was completed by student or dentist”.
RESULTS : Of the 498 teeth included, 224 (44.98%) were obturated, 35 (7.03%) were retreated, forty two (8.43%) teeth were referred for extraction and 197 (39.56%) remained untreated. After 16.56 (SD 6.19) months, treatment remained incomplete in 46.58% (n=232) of cases.
CONCLUSIONS : The UPOHC lacked capacity to complete all RCTs that were started. A primary health care approach focussed on prevention combined with an integrated resource plan for oral health in the region is recommended.